Happy Birthday to you!
In our regular Sunday feature, we bring you the names of some of the best-known figures on Planet Football who will be celebrating their birthdays over the coming week.
Italian twosome Antonio Cassano (27) and Christian Vieri (36) celebrate birthdays on Sunday. Both strikers have tasted success at home and abroad. Cassano is currently knocking them in for Sampdoria, following previous stints with Roma and Real Madrid. Vieri has also put in time in La Liga, scoring 24 goals in as many games for Atletico Madrid in the 1997/98 campaign. In Germany, FIFA Women's World Cup winner Simone Laudehr (23) will also be tearing off the gift-wrapping today.
Mounir El Hamdaoui of Morocco turns 25 on Tuesday. After an outstanding season with AZ Alkmaar in the Dutch Eredivisie, where he finished as the league's leading scorer, he is currently doing his level best to help his national team qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ in South Africa.
Assuming Borussia Dortmund and Switzerland striker Alexander Frei has a birthday cake, he will attempt to blow out 30 candles today. The goal-getter earned his first cap back in March 2001 and has been a regular since then in the side now coached by Ottmar Hitzfeld. Three-time FIFA World Cup participant and Argentine footballing legend Mario Kempes (55) also celebrates his big day on Wednesday.
Long-serving Sweden coach Lars Lagerback is sure to receive a host of presents and congratulatory messages on Thursday. The 60-year-old has been at the Tre Kronor helm for more than nine years, leading his team to three European championships and two FIFA World Cup finals in this time, although he faces a titanic struggle to claim a berth at the global showdown in 2010.
Jomo Sono, one of South Africa's best-known and revered footballing personalities, is 54 today. Sono coached Bafana Bafana at the African Cup of Nations in 1998 and the 2002 FIFA World Cup. Netherlands defender Jaap Stam turns 37 on Friday. The former international stalwart numbers Manchester United and AC Milan among his former clubs.
One man whose fame has yet to spread around the planet, but who boasts star status in Brazil and Germany, is Carlos Eduardo. The Hoffenheim attacking midfielder is 22 today. Before switching to the Bundesliga, Eduardo came to the fore in his home country for Gremio Porto Alegre.